Thursday, March 23, 2006

black swan green

I'm off on a not-so-secret mission to trade in my identity for a new one, so posting will probably be fairly light around here. In the meantime, you can read Ed Champion's correspondence with Megan Sullivan about the best piece of lit news I've heard in awhile: David Mitchell has a new book coming out on April 11th!

From Booklist: On the heels of his critically acclaimed Cloud Atlas (2004), frequent Booker Prize nominee Mitchell has left behind complicated literary constructions for this beautiful, stripped-down coming-of-age story. Our 13-year-old narrator, Jason Taylor, lives in Worcestershire's Black Swan Green with his sister and his parents. Jason suffers from a stammer, and in order to keep above the bottom rung of the social ladder, he must go to extravagant lengths to avoid using stammer words (some days those that start with n; other days, s). And he must live in the wake of his brilliant sister and mediate between his parents. The anxieties and excitements of boyhood are captured extraordinarily well here. Some will argue that Jason doesn't sound 13 (he certainly has, per day, a lot more arrestingly beautiful thoughts than does your average 13-year-old), but the narrative voice is consistent, and readers will come to believe it. Indeed, it is Mitchell's brilliant ability to reproduce internal monologue that makes this story so mesmerizing. He reproduces Jason's inner life with such astonishing verisimilitude that readers will find themselves haunted by him long after turning the last page.